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Ideas@TheCentre brings you ammunition for conversations around the table.  3 short articles from CIS researchers emailed every Friday on the issues of the week.

  • 3 (wrong) attitudes towards ageing

    31 Jul 2015

    Our population is ageing. This will bring profound economic and fiscal challenges that will require significant changes in government spending. But it will also require us to change our attitudes towards... Read More

  • Another unhelpful tax thought bubble

    31 Jul 2015

    Last weekend's ALP conference resolution committing a future Labor government to 'consider' a version of the so-called Buffett tax rule capped a week of tax-raising thought bubbles. Read More

  • Moratorium on health tax and spend policies

    31 Jul 2015

    We urgently need to change the conversation about health. The Intergenerational Reports have warned for more than a decade about a health financing sustainability crisis -- a crisis which has now hit,... Read More

  • Reform retreat a tax-fest

    24 Jul 2015

    Paul Keating once warned, "Never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money". Rarely has the hazard been more on display as state premiers lined up this week to nominate their favourite Commonwealth... Read More

  • Brave new 21 st century

    24 Jul 2015

    The recent advancements in the information and communications technology - in particular the advent of the internet and smartphones - are fundamentally reducing transaction costs and improving production... Read More

  • Inconvenient truths

    24 Jul 2015

    Activists are trying to make the world a better place. So it's okay if they occasionally spread things that aren't technically true... right? Read More

  • Time to focus on the family

    17 Jul 2015

    The developmental impacts of quality childcare for children who have a deficient home environment are well known. Read More

  • Co-payment debacle reflections

    17 Jul 2015

    The Abbott government's Medicare co-payment proposal prompted the organised medical profession to wage a political campaign that helped drive a first-term Prime Minister to the brink of the sack by his... Read More

  • Taxing Bank Deposits

    03 Jul 2015

    In the current economic climate of grossly indebted governments and faltering economies, it is imperative that policy for the medium to long-term should focus on wealth-creation, major reductions in government... Read More

  • Super Independent Board: A step in the right direction

    03 Jul 2015

    In the endless flood of government inquires and reviews - rarely translating to any tangible policy reform - there is good hope in the recent move by the Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to improve... Read More

  • Baird's budget bonanza

    26 Jun 2015

    The New South Wales 2015-16 budget announced this week demonstrates the O'Farrell/Baird governments have accomplished the budget repair mission that so eludes their federal colleagues. Read More

  • Greece must deal with its past before its creditors

    19 Jun 2015

    It may well be true that Greece will never pay back its debts, as Greek Finance Minister 'Aussie' Yanis Varoufakis claims. Varoufakis uses this argument to condemn the troika (the IMF, the European commission... Read More

  • 50 shades of youth unemployment

    19 Jun 2015

    The rise of a jobless youth contingent in Australia is a growing concern. But we cannot get a clear picture of the problem without examining the  different measurements of it. Read More

  • Death, taxes and political advertising

    19 Jun 2015

    It feels like aeons ago that Kevin Rudd referred to taxpayer-funded political advertising commissioned by governments as "a long term cancer on our democracy."Over the course of their first term in office,... Read More

  • A possible market solution to appropriate bank capital levels

    05 Jun 2015

    The Australian financial watchdog should embrace ERNs, allowing banks to use these novel convertible bonds to meet higher capital levels. And hear the refreshing winds of change: not more regulation, not... Read More

  • Taxpayers should not have to pay for parental leave twice

    05 Jun 2015

    If the latest opinion polls are anything to go by, Budget 2015 has done more for the government’s primary vote than Budget 2014 -- even if it has done little to improve the nation’s fiscal... Read More

  • The ultimate penalty on young jobseekers

    29 May 2015

    Youth unemployment in Australia is a ballooning issue that needs to be properly addressed.  Over half a million young Australians are not in employment, education or training. Read More

  • Employer PPL response not a scam

    22 May 2015

    The government's handling of its Paid Parental Leave (PPL) budget measure shows a determination to alienate as wide a constituency as possible. Read More

  • Pensioners can unlock more income

    01 May 2015

    Australia can have a fairer and more sustainable age pension - but only if we stop ignoring pensioners' biggest asset and help them put all of their savings to work. Read More

  • Cash rate: what, why and how?

    01 May 2015

    So what exactly is the cash rate? Why is it relevant? How does it work? Read More

  • Three pillars reform needed to fix pension

    24 Apr 2015

    There are three ‘pillars’ supporting retirement in Australia. Superannuation, the age pension and the family home. If we are serious about boosting living standards in retirement, and addressing the... Read More

  • Deflation is bad

    24 Apr 2015

    For starters, Australia is not facing at present an imminent danger of deflation -- as a closer, less sensationalist look at the IMF report indicates. Read More

  • Full steam ahead for ship of fools

    17 Apr 2015

    Neither Labour nor Tories will explain how they plan to eliminate the deficit, still less start paying down the debt. Read More

  • Reflecting on Tax Freedom Day

    10 Apr 2015

    Balance needs to be restored to a narrative that sees tax concessions as nothing but distortions and rorts favouring the rich and elderly, and as a source of easy and massive revenue gains. Read More

  • Go west, Gen Y

    10 Apr 2015

    Since I’m a born-and-bred city girl, the situation in Sydney must be rather dire if I’m putting serious thought into packing up and heading west. Read More

  • Opening the tax reform can of worms

    02 Apr 2015

    The current ramshackle tax system is the product of compromises, tinkering, political pragmatism and budget ad hoccery over decades. Read More

  • A more competitive Medicare

    27 Mar 2015

    Government should abolish the Schedule Fee together with the bonus for bulk billing, and save itself the cost and contradiction of paying GPs for doing so. Read More

  • Pensioners should not be ring-fenced from budget repair

    13 Mar 2015

    Is indexing the pension to prices, rather than male wages, unfair? Read More

  • The Iron Law of Medicare

    06 Mar 2015

    What needs to be factored in to the health debate is that the so-called 'right to Medicare' involves trading off other important 'rights'. Read More

  • 40 years of budgets in the rearview mirror

    27 Feb 2015

    The federal government's Intergenerational Reports (IGR) have attracted plenty of attention in the past, but nothing like the drum-roll heralding the imminent 2015 update. Read More

  • Monday's 'pension increase' a side show to the real reform needed

    20 Feb 2015

    With the Age Pension projected to account for 12 per cent of the growth in total spending over the medium term there can be no doubt that there is need for pension reform. Read More

  • What lies beneath the waves of government-speak on subs

    13 Feb 2015

    The government doesn’t seem to understand the words it has been saying on submarines. Read More

  • Let the games begin

    13 Feb 2015

    It’s been an inspiring start to my time at CIS. Read More

  • PPL levy without the PPL?

    06 Feb 2015

    Tony Abbott has abandoned his enhanced PPL scheme, but word is that the tax earmarked to pay for it (a 1.5% levy on larger company profits) may be kept anyway. This would be bad policy and cynical politics. Read More

  • Disaster management, not demand management

    30 Jan 2015

    The global financial crisis re-ignited a division in economics between those who believe governments should boost demand through additional spending (Keynesians) and those who don't. The latter schools... Read More

  • The silly season GST debate

    16 Jan 2015

    A public debate about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is something we have to have, but considering some of the recent contributions, the silly season wasn’t a good time to start it. Read More

  • Your Bumper, Blockbuster, Holiday-Issue Ideas@TheCentre

    19 Dec 2014

    With CIS taking a break over the holiday season, we wanted to bring you a special issue of Ideas to finish the year.  So our researchers and senior staff have summed up the most memorable... Read More

  • Need a budget 'narrative' - this is it

    12 Dec 2014

    Forget insider words like ‘message’ and ‘spin’ and avert your eyes from the Senate railway wreckage. If the Abbott government wants to reset the budget debate here’s what it should do. Read More

  • Trans-Tasman harmonisation... a bridge too far

    12 Dec 2014

    Abandonment of ANZTIPA seems hard to reconcile with the Australian Government’s declared agenda for deregulation and competitiveness and represents a symbolic blow to a long standing agenda for closer... Read More

  • Cuts being used as convenient pretext at ABC

    05 Dec 2014

    Placing religious programming in the cross-hairs of the ABC’s fiscal razor gang is too cute by half. Read More

  • Tokenism will do nothing for women's superannuation

    05 Dec 2014

    Greens appear more interested in making a disingenuous pitch to win the votes of those female voters who have a less sophisticated understanding of superannuation. Read More

  • What to give a child who can't read?

    05 Dec 2014

    Many of the programs dreamt up by the two major political parties would be difficult to justify for inclusion in a school education budget. Read More

  • Lambie off to bad start with meaningless ANPHA stand

    28 Nov 2014

    On her first full day as an independent, Jacquie Lambie joined three other crossbench senators in pointlessly thwarting the government’s bill to formalise the abolition of the Australian National Preventive... Read More

  • Health reform needs a 'Plan B'

    28 Nov 2014

    This is the attitude that advocates of health reform must adopt now that the Abbott government’s co-payment initiative appears doomed to defeat. Read More

  • Economic liberals should exercise caution in their praise of Narendra Modi

    28 Nov 2014

    Much has been made about Mr Modi’s ‘pro-business’ stance, but developments thus far suggest that enthusiasts of economic liberalism should be more cautious in their praise. Read More

  • G20 growth plan found wanting

    21 Nov 2014

    Every G20 host country likes to have a signature initiative, and Australia's was the Brisbane Action Plan to lift the economic growth performance of all G20 countries in a sustainable fashion. This was... Read More

  • The Grey Army of early Newstart retirees

    21 Nov 2014

    The Abbott government chalked up a modest win this week with the first of its social services budget measures passed by the Senate with the help of Labor and Senators Day, Leyonhjelm and Muir. One budget... Read More

  • The third retirement pillar - home equity and pension inequity

    21 Nov 2014

    The system for supporting retired Australians is said to rest on three pillars: the age pension, superannuation and the family home. Read More

  • In defence of diplomatic talkfests

    14 Nov 2014

    Cynicism about multilateral meetings between world leaders is understandable. Read More

  • Indexing petrol excise makes it too easy for government to grow

    07 Nov 2014

    The Abbott government’s move to increase fuel excise duties without legislation raises questions of legitimacy not just about the way they are doing it but also about the principle of automatically indexing... Read More

  • Combating (genuine) poverty need not punish 'the rich'

    24 Oct 2014

    By defining poverty in these terms, the focus is shifted away from living standards towards income inequality so that poverty can only be eradicated through an extreme policy of income redistribution that... Read More

  • Integrating insurance with health service provision - a volatile partnership

    24 Oct 2014

    It is rare for a large provider of medical services to assume control of a health insurance company. Read More

  • Value of economic education

    17 Oct 2014

    Rather than simplifying advanced subjects for small kids, we’d be better off teaching small kids to read and count properly so that in high school they are equipped to study any advanced course effectively. Read More

  • Let them divest, but not with taxpayers cake

    17 Oct 2014

    Unless the ANU’s new strategy mentions an exciting new investment in magic beans, if it’s not imposing greater costs on the taxpayers then it really shouldn’t be the business of government. Read More

  • Stubbing out Carmen leaves smokescreen on money-go-round

    10 Oct 2014

    With so much government money sloshing around, censoring the arts for fear of promoting something unsavoury is inevitably a political decision—and one that should be seen for what it is. Read More

  • Opal card still a gem, despite any teething problems

    10 Oct 2014

    The Opal card is a victory clawed from the mouth of persistent defeat. Read More

  • There is no 'right' to help yourself to the taxes of others

    03 Oct 2014

    Political, social or economic problems are readily cast as human rights issue these days. Read More

  • The truth about fact checkers

    26 Sep 2014

    While Fact Check has exposed some of the most egregious examples of misinformation with an appeal to official statistics, on this occasion it has inadvertently perpetuated the super fund’s tax myth. Read More

  • Subs project is sinking fast

    19 Sep 2014

    Nothing to date about the process of acquiring Australia's next generation submarines should fill Australians with confidence about the outcome of the largest defence procurement in Australia's history. Read More

  • Superannuation Guarantee delay will not leave workers worse off

    12 Sep 2014

    Speaking in parliament last week, the Leader of the Opposition asked the Prime Minister if he could 'confirm that for an average income earner - aged 25 - that his decision to freeze the superannuation... Read More

  • Robin Hood is alive and well in Australia

    29 Aug 2014

    Critics of budget measures appear to believe that social benefits both individually and in aggregate should only ever go one way (up) and that the desirability of more redistribution is a given. Read More

  • Making work, not the dole, the easier option

    29 Aug 2014

    If we want to uphold the moral principle that those who can work should work, we cannot afford to make life on the dole the easier option. Read More

  • Senate voting reform won't fix the budget

    29 Aug 2014

    The permanent entrenchment of these dynamics would be harmful to the long term health of the budget, as significantly reducing government spending growth would be all but impossible. Fixing the senate... Read More

  • Sorting child protection facts from fiction

    22 Aug 2014

    Ideology and propaganda often gets in the way of a clear-eyed view of the problems in the child protection system. The first task for the South Australian Royal Commission will be to sort fact from fiction,... Read More

  • Independent tax commission won't work in practice

    22 Aug 2014

    Would a tax commission provide ‘fiercely independent advice’ on tax reform to the government, along a similar model to the Reserve Bank? Read More

  • No crisis but DSP still needs reform

    15 Aug 2014

    Calling the recent growth in DSP a crisis is hyperbole. Two thirds of the increase has come from declining economic conditions and mistakes in Australia's income support policy framework that can be rectified. Read More

  • Free to choose in health

    01 Aug 2014

    There are good lessons to learn from our Save-As-You-Go superannuation system when it comes to funding healthcare. Read More

  • Unemployment - one size fits some

    01 Aug 2014

    The biggest drawback to recent welfare reform plans on unemployment is in wrongly treating the unemployed as a homogenous mass. Read More

  • What the RBA really said about renting versus buying

    25 Jul 2014

    A recent Reserve Bank paper makes an excellent case for being indifferent between renting or buying before the fact. Read More

  • Why we need structural budget reform

    25 Jul 2014

    Some of the Abbott government’s challenges come from the Howard government failing to make the most of the windfall gain of the mining boom to structurally reform Australia’s budget. Read More

  • Welfare review flags significant reforms for public housing

    18 Jul 2014

    Aligning public housing subsidies in favour of a flat rate of assistance would improve workforce participation incentives. Read More

  • Does fair paid parental leave mean taxpayers cop the bill?

    11 Jul 2014

    The Coalition’s paid parental leave proposal sends a clear message that the parenting of some is superior to that of others. Read More

  • Improving housing affordability begins at home

    11 Jul 2014

    The increase in house prices over the last few decades is well explained by economic fundamentals. Read More

  • Youth woes are structural

    11 Jul 2014

    The mining boom helped to mask some of the underlying problems affecting young workers, problems that predate the GFC. Read More

  • Income management is mutual obligation writ large

    04 Jul 2014

    A common objection to income management is that it makes unemployment benefits conditional and is paternalistic, but this is already the case. Read More

  • Apply Adam Smith to dentistry to keep cavities away

    27 Jun 2014

    More trained dentists immigrating to Australia can only be a positive outcome for consumers of dentistry. Read More

  • Cutting penalty rates: who benefits?

    13 Jun 2014

    Whether to reduce or abolish penalty rates is often pitted as employer v employee, which ignores other important groups, particularly the unemployed. Read More

  • A top-heavy public service

    30 May 2014

    What can we do to stem the growth in highly-paid public sector managers and make government agencies more efficient? Read More

  • Fascinating fiscal facts

    30 May 2014

    Tax of $18,108 per capita should be more than enough to satisfy government, but government spend in 2012-13 was more than $24,000 per capita. Read More

  • Sharing the budget pain without increasing taxes

    30 May 2014

    To share the budget pain, we must all go without things for which we’ve relied on the government and learn to take greater responsibility. Read More

  • Follow the French: Charge patients for public hospital accommodation

    23 May 2014

    State governments could charge a daily accommodation fee for inpatient public hospital services to show that public health services are not free. Read More

  • Gen Y to Vilma: Age pensioners are going to be just fine

    23 May 2014

    For all the posturing, it is not clear from the budget papers exactly how age pensioners are being picked at. Read More

  • Revenue to the rescue

    16 May 2014

    The 2014-15 Budget relies heavily on revenue to reach approximate balance in four years’ time. Read More

  • More aid bang with fewer taxpayers' bucks?

    16 May 2014

    The aid community has savaged the government’s decision to cap Australia’s overseas development assistance, but their claims are inaccurate and unfair. Read More

  • The looming task of childcare

    16 May 2014

    If the costs of childcare subsidies are ever going to be brought under control, there needs to be significant changes to the underlying policies Read More

  • Gary S. Becker, 1930-2014

    09 May 2014

    Gary S. Becker had a sophisticated understanding of political economy that often led to counter-intuitive conclusions. Read More

  • PPL back-down: Symbolism not Budget repair

    09 May 2014

    The reduction in the paid parental leave cap in the government’s proposed PPL scheme is a largely symbolic gesture. Read More

  • Should the private health insurance rebate be abandoned?

    09 May 2014

    The private health insurance rebate levels the playing field between public and private hospitals but needs to be better targeted. Read More

  • Finding savings in education

    02 May 2014

    Government funding for schools has been rising consistently for decades, with no improvement in student outcomes. Read More

  • Puncturing our naive bubble

    02 May 2014

    We now have a choice: smaller government or bigger taxes. We can only hope the Treasurer picks the right option. Read More

  • Burned by the deficit levy to save the debt village

    02 May 2014

    Will Joe Hockey’s first budget cuts as deep and hard as the first Costello budget in 1996? Read More

  • The bright side of non-competitive IR federalism

    24 Apr 2014

    Classical liberals favour competitive federalism over national laws because competition between jurisdictions makes it harder for government to grow.If the tax or regulatory arrangements are more favourable... Read More

  • Paid Parental Leave: Is it really going to pay for the age pension?

    17 Apr 2014

    Is the government’s proposed paid parental leave scheme really about getting people back to work so they can pay for the pensions of tomorrow? Read More

  • Back to first principles on family benefits

    17 Apr 2014

    The government should not lose sight of the foundational principles involved in family benefits and welfare benefits. Read More

  • Tax Freedom Day

    11 Apr 2014

    Australians worked solely to pay taxes from 1 January this year until 22 March to pay federal taxes and then until 9 April to pay state and local taxes. Read More

  • Sale of Medibank Private

    11 Apr 2014

    There is no case for public ownership of Medibank Private. Read More

  • Re-moralising the pension

    11 Apr 2014

    What was the original purpose of the old age pension and how far have we strayed from this? Read More

  • Closing the government gaps

    04 Apr 2014

    Two gaps are putting pressure on government budgets and closing these gaps will be key to addressing short-term budget problems and a long-term fiscal crisis.  Read More

  • Abbott's diplomacy will pay dividends

    04 Apr 2014

    The Australian government’s prioritisation of economic diplomacy is perfectly suited to deepening relations with China. Read More

  • Minimum wage facts and myths

    28 Mar 2014

    The union movement is campaigning hard on the plight of low income workers, but what are the facts? Read More

  • State governments in a jobs quandary

    21 Mar 2014

    Restoring operating surpluses to the states requires tightening up on operating costs. Read More

  • The problem with youth is cost and incentive

    21 Mar 2014

    Changes to welfare decreased incentives for young workers to find work, while changes to labour market settings reduced demand for young, low-skilled labour. Read More

  • Foreign ownership of Qantas is a smokescreen

    07 Mar 2014

    It is well worth exploring what is in the Qantas Sale Act and why some are fighting to keep it. Read More

  • Where will the new jobs come from?

    28 Feb 2014

    There are impediments in our industrial relations system that are increasing costs and preventing new jobs from being created. Read More

  • Alcoa exposes false promises of protectionism

    21 Feb 2014

    With the collapse of the car manufacturing industry and the fall of Alcoa’s smelting operations, we must examine the costs of corporate welfare. Read More

  • The budget deficit in the (very) long term

    21 Feb 2014

    Australia faces a budget problem far into the future due to the fiscal costs of population ageing and evolving health care technology. Read More

  • Childcare: a case study in regulatory capture

    21 Feb 2014

    It’s time to look at how we can create a functional and accessible childcare system. Read More

  • The truth about poverty - from a certain point of view

    14 Feb 2014

    A review of public broadcasting should address what needs ABC and SBS are fulfilling, and whether they are duplicating or crowding out other providers. Read More

  • Balancing the budget

    07 Feb 2014

    The best result in the budget is for it to swing between deficit and surplus depending on cyclical conditions. Read More

  • Forget ABC bias, its crowding out that's the problem

    07 Feb 2014

    A review of public broadcasting should address what needs ABC and SBS are fulfilling, and whether they are duplicating or crowding out other providers. Read More

  • Perhaps Newstart doesn't require a new start

    17 Jan 2014

    Kevin Andrews’ idea to create multiple tiers of the DSP and Newstart would blur the necessary line between what constitutes a pension and what constitutes an allowance. Read More

  • Flawed take on push to regulate 'longer' working hours

    17 Jan 2014

    Are Australians really working longer hours, as the Australia Institute has suggested? Read More

  • The Senate inquisition

    17 Jan 2014

    The Commission of Audit Commissioners were subjected to an inquisition this week, before they’ve even delivered their report to the government. Read More

  • Improving on the debt limit

    13 Dec 2013

    A net debt limit as a share of GDP rather than in absolute dollar terms is part of a suite of fiscal rules proposed to impose fiscal discipline. Read More

  • Minimum wage exemptions for long-term unemployed

    06 Dec 2013

    Replace the Wage Connect subsidy scheme with a cheaper alternative of exempting employers hiring long-term job seekers from minimum wage requirements. Read More

  • Time for a fresh look at indexation of social benefits

    22 Nov 2013

    If the Abbott government is serious about curbing government spending it cannot afford to quarantine big spending items like education, health and social security. Read More

  • Cut waste by cutting departments

    22 Nov 2013

    The duplication across state and federal governments needs to end now to bring spending under control. Read More

  • Get used to tighter budgets

    15 Nov 2013

    Government agencies like the CSIRO will have to learn to deal with leaner budgets. Read More

  • Cleaning out the stables

    08 Nov 2013

    Hoceky’s tax policy changes announced this week will undo some of the damage created by the ad hoc approach to tax policy of recent years. Read More

  • Budget realities

    01 Nov 2013

    A substantial reduction in the growth rate of Commonwealth spending cannot be achieved just by rooting out inefficiency, waste and duplication. Read More

  • Beefed-up cop is back

    01 Nov 2013

    The Australian Building and Construction Commission must use its new powers wisely if productivity is to be boosted in the building and construction industry. Read More

  • Of debt ceilings and Commissions of Audit

    25 Oct 2013

    The government can’t wait for the Commission of Audit to report on the size of government, it must tackle the budget deficit now.   Read More

  • Reform the PBS to save taxpayer dollars

    25 Oct 2013

    Problems in the PBS mean that Australian taxpayers are paying over $1 billion more than they should every year. Read More

  • Reform the PBS to save taxpayer dollars

    25 Oct 2013

    Problems in the PBS mean that Australian taxpayers are paying over $1 billion more than they should every year. Read More

  • Reform the PBS to save taxpayer dollars

    25 Oct 2013

    Problems in the PBS mean that Australian taxpayers are paying over $1 billion more than they should every year. Read More

  • Of debt ceilings and Commissions of Audit

    25 Oct 2013

    The government can’t wait for the Commission of Audit to report on the size of government, it must tackle the budget deficit now.   Read More

  • Reform the PBS to save taxpayer dollars

    25 Oct 2013

    Problems in the PBS mean that Australian taxpayers are paying over $1 billion more than they should every year. Read More

  • Efficient markets in Nobel Prizes

    18 Oct 2013

    This year’s Nobel Prize in economics is split between the economist behind the efficient market hypothesis and one of its greatest critics. Read More

  • Cut wasteful spending, not just public servants

    18 Oct 2013

    A slimmer public service means a smaller burden on taxpayers, but the method employed to cut the bureaucracy is crucial. Read More

  • America's budget road-blocks

    11 Oct 2013

    In the US shutdown, one side will ultimately have to be proven more right or more wrong than the other in the court of public opinion. Read More

  • One 'last' bailout for Holden

    04 Oct 2013

    Government should ignore calls for one ‘last’ bailout package for Holden and cut wasteful corporate welfare. Read More

  • Australia's leaky submarine program

    27 Sep 2013

    Taxpayers are entitled to know whether the Collins Class submarine represents value for money and whether the service life extension of the Collins is a good investment. Read More

  • Foreign investment tests Coalition's free trade credentials

    13 Sep 2013

    The Coalition’s caution on FDI sits uneasily with its desire to develop Australia’s potential as a food exporter to Asia and to secure a free trade agreement with China. Read More

  • An economic rationalist's guide to the election

    06 Sep 2013

    Principled policy is the first casualty of election campaigns. Read More

  • Just how big is the national debt?

    30 Aug 2013

    The increase in debt over the past five years has far outstripped the amount of net capital expenditure. Read More

  • A top heavy public service

    23 Aug 2013

    If the Coalition wants to make a lasting impact on the cost of the public service, it needs to look at the composition of the service. Read More

  • What a difference five percent can make

    16 Aug 2013

    Australians have to make a choice between spending more and taxing more on the one hand, and spending less and taxing less on the other. Read More

  • Don't bank on PEFO projections

    16 Aug 2013

    Unrealistic assumptions manufacture a surplus in 2016/17, not any expected economic prowess from the government. Read More

  • Tax reform with smaller government

    09 Aug 2013

    Australia needs a reduction in the overall tax burden and a reshuffling in favour of less harmful taxes to spur economic growth in the long-term. Read More

  • Co-investment is corporate welfare

    09 Aug 2013

    So-called ‘co-investments’ to the car industry are really just cash handouts and cannot be considered ‘investments’ in any meaningful sense of the word. Read More

  • Rudd's after school care cash splash

    09 Aug 2013

    Rudd’s $450 million new funding for before- and after-school care is a worrying leap away from how child care has traditionally been perceived. Read More

  • The RBA and the second monetarist counter-revolution

    02 Aug 2013

    The official cash rate by itself does not tell us much about the stance of monetary policy. Read More

  • Rock off, Kevin

    02 Aug 2013

    A new National Office for Live Music is being established at a cost of $560 thousand. Read More

  • Productivity is more than industrial relations

    26 Jul 2013

    The biggest impediment to productivity growth in this country is the government. Read More

  • Workplace rights taken to the extreme

    19 Jul 2013

    Mel Greig’s case against Southern Cross Austereo could open the flood-gates of litigation and make a mockery of workplace rights. Read More

  • Why we should support car workers (find new jobs)

    12 Jul 2013

    Government should support workers transition to competitive industries and abolish corporate welfare. Read More

  • Fixed terms revisited

    05 Jul 2013

    The current bout of speculation about the election date reminds us that there is a way to put a stop to this silly game once and for all. Read More

  • Freedom and smaller government

    28 Jun 2013

    The issues that we as a society face have only arisen because government has moved away from its core roles. Read More

  • Ignoring the writing on the wall

    28 Jun 2013

    The ACTU is oblivious to the fact that wage cuts in the automotive industry are a necessary part of the drive to become competitive. Read More

  • Corporate welfare still milking government cash cows

    14 Jun 2013

    Industry assistance doesn’t achieve the goals it’s supposed to, and should be reduced. Read More

  • Dumping on free trade

    07 Jun 2013

    The government should highlight the benefits of cheaper imports for Australian consumers and the economy, rather than creating an Anti-Dumping Commission. Read More

  • Avoiding the carbon tax compensation nightmare

    07 Jun 2013

    Little has been said about the Coalition’s backflip on its promise to abolish the carbon tax compensation package. Read More

  • What is driving income inequalities?

    31 May 2013

    What is driving wider material inequalities? Read More

  • Resurrecting the fossils of arbitration

    31 May 2013

    Labor’s proposed amendment to allow arbitration in long-running industrial disputes would reintroduce elements of the ‘bad old days’ industrial relations system. Read More

  • Time to abolish awards

    24 May 2013

    Abolish the award system in favour of a single standard for all employees. Read More

  • The elusive budget surplus

    17 May 2013

    The idea that we will have a balanced budget by 2015-16 should be met with healthy scepticism. Read More

  • Timid cuts to middle class welfare

    17 May 2013

    The budget has delivered a new tax and some tinkering with the FTB system to pay for DisabilityCare instead of serious reforms to age or disability pensions. Read More

  • Tax rises are not savings

    17 May 2013

    This budget is further evidence that governments remain addicted to spending, and that is why it is time for TARGET30. Read More

  • Prospects for NDIS blowout

    10 May 2013

    The NDIS could experience average annual growth of around 8% per year, which would make the entire scheme financial unsustainable in the long run. Read More

  • How to save the health system

    03 May 2013

    Creating a health savings-based system would go a long way in solving the affordability problems facing Medicare. Read More

  • Funding students based on Indigeneity demeaning and wasteful

    03 May 2013

    The Labor government continues to ignore the overwhelming evidence that funding is not a principal constraint on Indigenous educational outcomes in Australia. Read More

  • Fiscal fixes

    03 May 2013

    Australia has a size-of-government problem rather than a revenue shortfall. Read More

  • The end of austerity?

    19 Apr 2013

    Saddling future generations with lower growth and higher taxes while they repay debts incurred to fund our short-term consumption is wrong. Read More

  • Tax freedom at last

    05 Apr 2013

    This Sunday marks Tax Freedom Day; the day in the year when Australians stop working for the government. Read More

  • Penalty rates and job insecurity

    22 Mar 2013

    Moves to strengthen penalty rates may have the perverse effect of creating further job insecurity. Read More

  • What is a fair share?

    15 Mar 2013

    What does a fair share of tax actually mean? Read More

  • Promoting the benefits of smaller government

    08 Mar 2013

    Obvious areas of government inefficiency and waste should be cut immediately. Read More

  • Mining tax as a federalism issue

    01 Mar 2013

    The messy MRRT that we now have co-exists with state royalties which creates the undesirable possibility of ‘double taxation.’ Read More

  • The protectionist field of dreams

    22 Feb 2013

    Politicians don’t seem to know a lot about what businesses need to succeed. Read More

  • NDIS cost blowout has begun

    15 Feb 2013

    The government is starting to buckle over the NDIS as certain groups ramp up pressure to expand eligibility for the scheme. Read More

  • Well intentioned but fiscally ludicrous

    15 Feb 2013

    Scrapping Wage Connect subsidies in favour of a minimum wage exemption should be a no-brainer. Read More

  • Super myths

    08 Feb 2013

    The government should stop treating superannuation as a target for ad hoc raids to fund its pet programmes. Read More

  • No need to heed the ACTU’s nonsense

    25 Jan 2013

    All businesses, whether they are receiving subsidies or not, should be free to buy from whomever and wherever they please. Read More

  • Governments aren’t economists

    25 Jan 2013

    What does the failure to achieve a budget surplus actually mean? Read More

  • Fiscal sausages

    11 Jan 2013

    What emerged from Congress on the first day of 2013 is as unpalatable as the worst-made sausage. Read More

  • IR debate needs historical perspective

    07 Dec 2012

    It’s important to put industrial relations reform in historical perspective. Read More

  • Beware of calls for a bigger GST

    07 Dec 2012

    Government must exercise restraint over expenditure. Read More

  • Will taxes on the super-rich solve budget woes?

    07 Dec 2012

    It’s time to get serious about the economy. Read More

  • Compulsory super is a captive tax base

    30 Nov 2012

    As the pool of superannuation assets grows, the temptation for politicians to increase taxes on earnings will also increase. Read More

  • Making people worse off

    30 Nov 2012

    A serious attempt to reform welfare payments must be made in Australia. Read More

  • Mead: Dutiful but defeated

    23 Nov 2012

    People on welfare should never be better off than those who work. Read More

  • In Soviet Australia defence is welfare

    23 Nov 2012

    In Soviet Australia, it seems defence is welfare for some groups. Read More

  • An NDIS tax?

    23 Nov 2012

    The NDIS will start big and get bigger rapidly, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state. Read More

  • NDIS: The New Leviathan

    16 Nov 2012

    The NDIS will start big and get bigger rapidly, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state. Read More

  • Breaking the IR code

    16 Nov 2012

    Many employers are worried that increased union presence will create an ‘us versus them’ working culture. Read More

  • Four more years of Obamanomics

    09 Nov 2012

    Obama is likely to continue his big government approach, backed by new taxes. Read More

  • Smelling the fiscal rat

    02 Nov 2012

    The mid-year budget review is one of the most duplicitous acts of fiscal policy ever performed in Australia. Read More

  • Facts favour nuclear-powered submarines

    26 Oct 2012

    Australia must consider nuclear-powered submarines to get the best submarine for the money the government is willing to spend. Read More

  • Dismissal amendments won’t stop go-away money

    26 Oct 2012

    Real reforms to unfair dismissal need to address the entire process of unfair dismissal claims. Read More

  • Self-sustaining leviathan

    19 Oct 2012

    The welfare state has gone far beyond a ‘safety net’ concept. Read More

  • The fall in Australian poverty

    19 Oct 2012

    Getting people into the workforce rather than handing more money to welfare recipients would be a better means of addressing the causes of poverty. Read More

  • Abusing the logic of human rights

    12 Oct 2012

    Parents of school-aged children who will be moved from Parenting Payment to Newstart Allowance are not victims of human rights abuse. Read More

  • Fiscal discipline isn’t austerity but good government

    12 Oct 2012

    Demonising austerity will result in a continuation of the reckless government-funded spending spree. Read More

  • A new way to stymie cost reduction

    05 Oct 2012

    The Gillard government must be cautious in implementing reforms that put undue stress on balance sheets, like the proposed Fair Work Act amendments. Read More

  • The Coalition’s carbon tax compensation nightmare

    05 Oct 2012

    New government spending since 2010 could easily amount to an additional $28 billion by 2020, costs that the government can ill afford. Read More

  • Australia’s future fiscal shock

    28 Sep 2012

    New government spending since 2010 could easily amount to an additional $28 billion by 2020, costs that the government can ill afford. Read More

  • Protectionism is socialism

    28 Sep 2012

    Australia has had a long history of protectionism but the onus to support Australian production should lie with the consumers of those goods. Read More

  • A deficit of stability and predictability

    14 Sep 2012

    The goal of achieving a budget surplus does not justify diverting every budget measure in that direction. Read More

  • Flexibility rhetoric ignores common law contracts

    14 Sep 2012

    Saying there is no provision whatsoever for individual contracts under the current industrial framework is simply not true. Read More

  • Importing Australia’s Asia literacy

    07 Sep 2012

    Extra spending to improve Asia literacy is unnecessary because Australia is already well-positioned to prosper as power moves to Asia. Read More

  • A plan with no plans

    07 Sep 2012

    The NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan isn’t a plan at all but a collection of concepts and colourful pictograms that contains no concrete ideas about what is actually affordable or achievable. Read More

  • Unions are not always for workers

    31 Aug 2012

    The interests of unions are not necessarily the same as the interests of workers, and a union campaign does not always equate to a workers’ campaign. Read More

  • Government savings driving dole growth

    31 Aug 2012

    If people on the dole are not required to look for work, they will stay on the dole for longer. Read More

  • The NDIS will cost $22 billion a year, says new report

    24 Aug 2012

    Given the sheer size and scope of the NDIS, taxpayers deserve to have accurate information about the overall cost of the NDIS because they will be footing the bill. Read More

  • Taxing illusions

    24 Aug 2012

    The PAYE feature of the tax system creates the illusion of a smaller tax burden than the reality. Read More

  • A fair welfare system

    24 Aug 2012

    People must be helped, but the way we do it must be fair. Read More

  • Population pessimism is unfounded – and irresponsible

    24 Aug 2012

    The challenge for Australia is not to stop population growth but to find practical solutions to accommodate it. Read More

  • Unempirical Asian languages alarmism

    16 Aug 2012

    Asian languages alarmism should not scare us into expanding current language education programs. Read More

  • For the love of gold, let’s find a better way to fund sport

    16 Aug 2012

    Rather than lining up more athletes to suckle on the government teat, we should explore innovative new funding models for sport. Read More

  • Some positives from a disappointing review

    09 Aug 2012

    Amendments to dealing with unfair dismissal applications in the review of the Fair Work Act are welcome. Read More

  • The NDIS – more cuts, less taxes

    02 Aug 2012

    What have we been paying tax for if not for the sorts of services and supports that the NDIS is supposed to provide? Read More

  • Don’t turn Chinese on foreign direct investment

    27 Jul 2012

    Australian politicians need to put greater trust in our internationally well-regarded domestic regulatory frameworks rather than becoming more like the Chinese in our disregard for the rule of law. Read More

  • Slicing up a bigger national pie

    27 Jul 2012

    ABS figures for 2009–10 shed light on changes in average household incomes, their distribution, and the redistributive impact of tax and benefit policies. Read More

  • Employee risk and youth wages

    20 Jul 2012

    There are several reasons for youth wages to be less than adult wages. Read More

  • Reform NSW health

    13 Jul 2012

    The NSW Government must embrace privatisation in the NSW public hospital system. Read More

  • Shaking the 2012–13 money tree

    06 Jul 2012

    The hot topics of carbon tax and immigration have pushed social policy reforms under the radar in recent months. Read More

  • Farming rhinoceroses

    29 Jun 2012

    Australia should consider legalising the trade in rhino horns. Read More

  • A penny for their thoughts?

    22 Jun 2012

    The traditional role of journalists as intermediaries and interpreters of information has been greatly diminished by the same forces that have undermined the old media business models. Read More

  • A watchful eye on workplace flexibility

    22 Jun 2012

    HR Nicholls Society’s annual conference in Melbourne this year provided a timely analysis of the workplace issues arising from the introduction of the Fair Work Act. Read More

  • Mutual obligation as human rights abuse

    22 Jun 2012

    The Australian Council of Social Service’s letter about the serious breach of international human rights laws here in Australia is misplaced. Read More

  • The state budget – motorways at 10 paces

    15 Jun 2012

    There are several components of the recent NSW budget that should pique your interest. Read More

  • Free to be fat

    15 Jun 2012

    The obese should pay for their obesity – through market rates, not government taxes, so that the healthy are not punished when they want to try a bacon sundae. Read More

  • Are tax concessions stepping stones towards smaller government?

    08 Jun 2012

    Tax concessions are better understood as evidence of government supporting politically important sectors of the Australian economy, and therefore, should be viewed sceptically by small government advocates. Read More

  • Drop the protectionist rhetoric and do more for your members

    01 Jun 2012

    If unions are serious about standing up for working families, they ought to be working with mining companies to improve prospects for redundant manufacturing workers to relocate to the mining sector. Read More

  • Taxing American human capital flight

    01 Jun 2012

    The US government has long made life difficult for its expats, taxing them on their global income, but the growing human capital flight from America has little to do with tax minimisation. Read More

  • Remember the Henry tax review?

    11 May 2012

    This week’s federal budget is evidence of just how much of the Henry review is not being implemented. Read More

  • Forget measly tax cuts - businesses need reform

    11 May 2012

    Government ignores measures to ease regulatory burden and increase labour market flexibility in Budget 2012. Read More

  • Good and bad reasons for a budget surplus

    11 May 2012

    In an open economy with a floating exchange rate and an inflation-targeting central bank, changes in fiscal policy do not have significant macroeconomic implications. Read More

  • Government furphy on Indigenous homeownership

    11 May 2012

    It is disingenuous to ask Aboriginal people to build houses on Indigenous land without letting them access money from the new Indigenous homeownership program or giving them security of tenure. Read More

  • Mugged by a Swan

    04 May 2012

    Doubling the concessional contributions tax for high income earners to raise a relatively trivial amount of revenue smacks of an obsession with redistribution. Read More

  • No more dreaming of CDEP

    04 May 2012

    Despite its good intentions, CDEP ended up hindering rather than helping Indigenous people. Read More

  • An immaterial benefit: Learning from Europe’s mistakes

    27 Apr 2012

    The European public debt crisis is a wake-up call to those who believe in running a country on ever more feel-good programs, welfare initiatives, and industry assistance. Read More

  • Employment is a contract, not a right

    27 Apr 2012

    The law must reflect the reality that employment is a voluntary contract, and when one party no longer consents, the contract must be terminated. Read More

  • Monetary policy can’t buy economic growth

    20 Apr 2012

    It is usually the economy that drives monetary policy, not the other way around. Read More

  • Politicians’ own taxes

    20 Apr 2012

    Requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns will further trivialise election campaigns. Read More

  • Celebrate tax freedom while you can

    05 Apr 2012

    If the government continues to spend big and finance it through deficits, the future tax burden may have to rise substantially to pay for a growing debt burden. Read More

  • Poaching American and European talent

    05 Apr 2012

    Government should extend its offshore skills processing plans to the intellectual capital in the United States and Europe. Read More

  • Measly turnout for the protectionist vote

    30 Mar 2012

    Katter’s protectionism policies are harmful to the economy.    Read More

  • Glimmer of hope

    23 Mar 2012

    The libertarian view is that increasing top marginal rates is a populist reaction, is the wrong way to address legitimate concerns about inequality. Read More

  • Whose business is it anyway

    16 Mar 2012

    There is no role for the state to intervene in negotiations with unions. Read More

  • Separate schools not the answer

    09 Mar 2012

    Separate doesn’t mean better and throwing money at a problem isn’t an effective way to solve the education gap between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal students. Read More

  • Finkelstein: Murdoch’s new best friend?

    09 Mar 2012

    What was Finkelstein thinking? If the traditional media can’t adapt and catch up, it shouldn’t be the taxpayer’s problem. Read More

  • Wasteful energy

    02 Mar 2012

    Sometimes a little economic logic can save a lot of money – $10 billion for starters, which is how much the federal government will commit to its flagship climate change policy, the Clean Energy Finance... Read More

  • WA should invest and lower taxes before hoarding revenue

    24 Feb 2012

    Sovereign wealth funds are not the way to store money, especially the mining profits. Read More

  • The taxman cometh

    17 Feb 2012

    The government isn’t making any economic sense fighting against a deficit in the budget. Read More

  • New report, old story

    17 Feb 2012

    Ferry reform must happen to introduce competition into the market and lower the cost for commuters. Read More

  • Who needs a car industry anyway?

    17 Feb 2012

    Does Australia need a car industry? Probably not. Read More

  • Foreigners are not going to take our food

    10 Feb 2012

    Foreigners owning agricultural land is not a threat to our food security. Read More

  • ‘Building a new economy’ – really, Prime Minister?

    10 Feb 2012

    Government should look at the big picture and give the private sector the best tools to build a solid economy. Read More

  • Time to drop the Dick

    03 Feb 2012

    Time for Dick Smith to go – he may have been a brilliant entrepreneur, but his past achievements sadly do not give his present utterances any credibility. Read More

  • US presidential race taxing

    27 Jan 2012

    Sketchy tax system causes problems for presidential hopefuls. Read More

  • Car industry handouts are childish

    27 Jan 2012

    Paying for an industry that can’t support itself is lunacy. Car companies need to bite the bullet and find a sustainable business model. Read More

  • Car industry handouts are childish

    27 Jan 2012

    Paying for an industry that can’t support itself is lunacy. Car companies need to bite the bullet and find a sustainable business model. Read More

  • The economist who stole Christmas

    23 Dec 2011

    Spending lots of money on pointless gifts is bad for the economic in the long term. Buy something for yourself instead. Read More

  • Heart is where the shops are

    23 Dec 2011

    Shopping from your local retailer just doesn’t make financial sense. But the loss of our high streets may mean the loss of society’ hub. Read More

  • Christmas pudding without butter

    23 Dec 2011

    The richest country in the world can’t afford butter. Read More

  • World class economy, first class prices

    16 Dec 2011

    Government regulations on consumer products make Australia one of the most expensive countries in the world. Read More

  • The long march of Fightback

    09 Dec 2011

    Major economic reform can lead to political success and good policy, and government shouldn’t forget it. Read More

  • Pay me my money

    09 Dec 2011

    Workers should have the choice of increased pay instead of holiday leave, if that’s what they want. Read More

  • Pay for what is yours

    02 Dec 2011

    Take responsibility for your actions – don’t make the rest of us pay. Read More

  • Incentives are life and death

    02 Dec 2011

    Drug addicts are infecting themselves with the AIDs virus to gain more welfare despite the dire consequences, highlighting the power of incentives. Read More

  • Left or Right can find common ground

    25 Nov 2011

    It is fascinating that the more reflective elements of the Left and the (properly) liberal Right agree with each other on a major public policy issues. When there are no politics to worry about, it seems... Read More

  • New Zealand’s spending binge

    18 Nov 2011

    Despite a two-fold increase in government spending to $70.5 billion, health, education and other social indicators have hardly improved in New Zealand. Read More

  • NZ ‘leads the world’ by lagging behind Australia on carbon

    11 Nov 2011

    Key government rethinks its emissions trading scheme while Australia passes clean energy legislation. Read More

  • Super changes are unnecessary paternalism

    11 Nov 2011

    Lifting superannuation to 12% is a blow to the average wage-earner and business. Read More

  • Nanny state taxation

    04 Nov 2011

    If the nanny state insists on new or increased behavioural taxes, then government should also introduce equivalent cuts in other taxes. Read More

  • Taken for a ferry ride

    28 Oct 2011

    A free-trade ferry system in Sydney would provide faster ferries and save NSW taxpayers money. Read More

  • Occupy what?

    21 Oct 2011

    The Occupy movement’s message is slightly lost, but they still may have a point. Read More

  • iPod, iPad, iSelf

    14 Oct 2011

    Steve Jobs may not have donated all his money to causes, but he devoted his life to Apple, giving the world something far greater than charity. Read More

  • Fees disorientation

    14 Oct 2011

    Students will be made to a pay a compulsory union fee to fund activities they may or may not use. Read More

  • 1 for the nanny state, 0 for commonsense

    14 Oct 2011

    Welfare has gone mad in Britain – child misbehaves, parent gets a car. Child’s team loses football game by 20 points – they will never know. Read More

  • The holy grail of welfare reform

    07 Oct 2011

    We must reduce the number of people on the Disability Pension Scheme by helping them to find work. Read More

  • For richer, for poorer

    07 Oct 2011

    The right needs to address the growing popular resentment about banks, big corporations, and rich individuals avoiding tax, receiving hand-outs, and deserting people at home by relocating overseas. Read More

  • A growing opportunity for Australia

    30 Sep 2011

    Instead of being afraid of population growth, Australians should embrace it, and government must focus on build infrastructure to support the growth. Read More

  • Unions vs Representation

    30 Sep 2011

    Reforming Australian industrial relations needs to begin with scrapping award wages. Read More

  • Boat people circa 1871

    23 Sep 2011

    Australia should auction its immigration spots to the highest and most capable bidders to improve our standard of living over the long term. Read More

  • Patently absurd

    23 Sep 2011

    Misuse of patent laws needs to curbed or soon only Apple can sell flat computers and smartphones. Read More

  • Rate it yourself

    16 Sep 2011

    The National Strategy on Energy Efficiency will require all residential properties, new and existing, to have consistent energy efficiency ratings. Read More

  • Invest in a creative type

    16 Sep 2011

    Community-based ideas like Pozible can help make arts more dynamic, robust and financially independent. Read More

  • Buying spirit level bubbles

    09 Sep 2011

    In his new book When Prophecy Fails (released by the CIS), Peter Saunders writes a further rebuttal to Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book, The Spirit Level. Read More

  • Plus ça change: O’Farrell government and NSW Health

    09 Sep 2011

    The NSW government’s focus on management issues in health care ignores more complex, deep-set, and politically sensitive problems. Read More

  • Ingredients for successful integration

    02 Sep 2011

    Australia’s migrants are some of the best integrated because the immigration policy is strict. Continuing this considered selection through a careful screening process for migrants is vital. Read More

  • How to respond to the terms of trade boom

    02 Sep 2011

    Historical experience highlights the danger of conditioning public policy on assumptions about the future direction of relative prices for traded goods. Read More

  • Covert methods to curb criticism

    26 Aug 2011

    New changes to Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) provisions will make it easier for successive governments to pass burdensome regulation without sound evaluation of their effects. Read More

  • A man’s home is his castle

    19 Aug 2011

    The recent spat between miners and farmers happened because farmers’ property rights have not been clearly defined. Read More

  • Curing insanity with madness

    05 Aug 2011

    Reply to Peter Saunders piece from the previous Ideas, when he questioned some of the benefits of free trade. “It all sounds pretty plausible when you first read it but I am afraid our esteemed colleague... Read More

  • Faith in free trade

    29 Jul 2011

    Should a country really be content to see its core manufacturing base disappear? Read More

  • Good morning, this is your pilot striking

    22 Jul 2011

    Labour competition is not to be feared but encouraged. Read More

  • A win for Big Bureaucracy

    15 Jul 2011

    The bewildering array of new programs accompanying the carbon tax betrays a win for Big Bureaucracy and a blithe disregard for public money. Read More

  • Australian tax system inspires NZ Labour

    15 Jul 2011

    New Zealand Labour Party tax plan resembles aspects of the Australian tax system. Read More

  • Sending profits abroad is a good thing

    01 Jul 2011

    For Bob Brown, national ownership is more important than creating domestic prosperity. Read More

  • Go West? 'Get out of Sydney’ grants an expensive distraction

    01 Jul 2011

    Paying people to move to regional areas will not improve economic growth. Read More

  • Say ‘no’ to taxes on the busy and the stupid

    17 Jun 2011

    Abolish all deductions and use the extra revenue to cut income tax rates. Read More

  • Glamour over substance

    17 Jun 2011

    The IMF may soon get its first female managing director. Read More

  • Government too big for its boots

    03 Jun 2011

    Can an action of one government be so bad that it justifies retrospective legislation by a successor government? Read More

  • Talk is cheap, everything else is not

    03 Jun 2011

    Politicians deploring the cost of living for hard-working, forgotten families would be all the more credible if deeds followed their words. Read More

  • Populist streak waters down NZ alcohol policy

    27 May 2011

    New Zealand’s liberal liquor regime is under threat from ineffective policies based on dodgy data. Read More

  • Ferry woes show no signs of abating

    27 May 2011

    Franchising Sydney Ferry will not end commuter woes. Read More

  • IMF’s credibility sinks with its head

    20 May 2011

    Ordinary taxpayers across the globe should no longer tolerate IMF’s fiscal excesses. Read More

  • Back in the black or still in the red?

    13 May 2011

    Swan’s goal of tightening fiscal policy is appropriate but his methods need scrutiny. Read More

  • Light bulbs and set top boxes

    13 May 2011

    Gillard’s set top boxes will cost taxpayers $309 million at a time of a $50 billion budget deficit. Read More

  • Failed US policies? Not in my back yard

    06 May 2011

    Just because the US Federal Reserve has abandoned price stability doesn’t mean that the RBA should too. Read More

  • Playground stimulus

    29 Apr 2011

    Labor government uses stimulus money for nation building in dead villages. Read More

  • Carbon confusion

    21 Apr 2011

    Rather than foist a cumbersome and irreversible carbon trading scheme on Australians, the government should first remove the price depressants. Read More

  • Tough talking budgets

    15 Apr 2011

    The May budget has become not much more than a housekeeping document tacked on to the appropriation bills. Read More

  • Tax Freedom Day arrives

    08 Apr 2011

    From 6 April, the private sector in Australia began working for itself. Read More

  • How dare you build that!

    01 Apr 2011

    Barry O’Farrell’s victory speech on Saturday night trumpeted his government’s priorities: to fix roads and rail; upgrade hospitals; and to hire more nurses, doctors and police. No surprises there.... Read More

  • There's no silver lining to Japan's tragedy

    18 Mar 2011

    Japan’s north-eastern coastline was a bustling commercial hub early last week. By Saturday, it was a sodden wasteland. Read More

  • The pages of creative destruction

    11 Mar 2011

    Books were expensive and choice limited. Yet technology has increasingly allowed Australian consumers to overcome these barriers. Read More

  • The language of tax and spend

    25 Feb 2011

    Politicians have mastered the common marketing technique of making the price of a product appear cheaper than it is. Read More

  • How the states measure up

    Robert Carling | 18 Feb 2011

    The overall trend in state finances over the last three years has been one of deterioration driven by strong growth in recurrent and capital spending in addition to losses on financial assets inflicted... Read More

  • Paying for the floods

    Robert Carling | 28 Jan 2011

    Despite its beguiling label, the levy is a tax increase like any other tax increase. The government knows there is a political imperative to act now, while a plausible link can be made from the floods... Read More

  • Shopping for a solution

    Robert Carling | 14 Jan 2011

    Online shopping overseas makes it harder for foreign suppliers to practise price discrimination or for domestic retailers to apply excessive mark-ups. Read More

  • Europe shows the end game for big government

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 17 Dec 2010

    Europe's present can be Australia's future if we repeat their mistake of creating an overblown, inflated state. Read More

  • It’s all about the city

    Jessica Brown | 10 Dec 2010

    Cities, especially big ones like Melbourne and Sydney, provide us with endless opportunities that simply are not available in remote locations. Read More

  • Ireland beware its saviours

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 26 Nov 2010

    Instead of helping the Irish economy, the 'rescue' package will undermine the country's long-term competitiveness. Read More

  • Pollies' porkies over small Australia skill shortages

    Jessica Brown | 19 Nov 2010

    ‘Small Australia’ was always a bit of a beat up. Now it appears it is economic folly too. Read More

  • Open doors, not webcams

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 12 Nov 2010

    Webcams in Victorian courts streaming court proceedings on the Internet are not necessary to ensure judicial transparency. Open doors are enough. Read More

  • This year’s Nobel Prize: A case of market failure

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 15 Oct 2010

    If the Nobel committee had wanted to set an exclamation mark with their decision, they could have honoured branches of economics they had hitherto neglected. Read More

  • GST and the Ratchet Effect

    Luke Malpass | 15 Oct 2010

    The GST is such an effective income raiser, and the least economically harmful, that it is always tempting to raise it in increments. Read More

  • That fabled ‘Big Australia’

    Jessica Brown | 08 Oct 2010

    Population increases are inevitable, and government should start planning for infrastructure bottlenecks. Read More

  • A bigger GST? Be careful what you wish for

    Robert Carling | 01 Oct 2010

    Those pushing for a higher rate of GST should be careful what they wish for – they may get it but also a lot of other things they didn’t bargain for. Read More

  • Empires on the edge of chaos

    Niall Ferguson | 30 Jul 2010

    This year, on the 200th anniversary of Lachlan Macquarie’s appointment as the Governor of New South Wales, it is appropriate that the annual Centre for Independent Studies John Bonython Lecture should... Read More

  • China’s underappreciated boost to global resource supply

    Stephen Kirchner | 16 Jul 2010

    China’s contribution to global resource demand is well known, but its important contribution to augmenting global resource supply is underappreciated, frequently misunderstood, and often feared. Read More

  • The Economic Consensus We Could Do Without

    Stephen Kirchner | 25 Jun 2010

    Treasury Secretary Ken Henry this week accused academic economists of being ‘loath to come to a consensus position on anything’ and lamented that ‘whenever an idea is ventured publicly by a … Read More

  • How to reduce the budget deficit, without really trying

    Stephen Kirchner | 14 May 2010

    According to Treasurer Wayne Swan, the government is set to preside over the ‘most substantial fiscal consolidation in Australia’s modern history,’ leading the federal budget back into surplus by... Read More

  • Too good to be true?

    Robert Carling | 09 Apr 2010

    That Australia’s economy performed better than many others during the recent global financial crisis is beyond doubt, but a stronger claim is often made in public commentary – that Australia avoided... Read More

  • Tax cuts will help achieve productivity goal

    Robert Carling | 05 Mar 2010

    Although the government’s major review of the tax and transfer system (the Henry Review) has not yet been released, there is no indication so far to suggest that the review will introduce major changes... Read More

  • The pretence of knowledge

    Greg Lindsay | 26 Feb 2010

    The ill-conceived and rushed Commonwealth insulation program adds to a very long list of recent government policy failures, such as Grocery Watch, Petrol Watch, ‘Green’ loans, and Indigenous public... Read More

  • Stimulus begets stimulus

    Luke Malpass | 26 Feb 2010

    Suspending the insulation program has landed the Rudd government with an unpleasant political problem: business closures and layoffs. Read More

  • Nuclear's global renaissance

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 19 Feb 2010

    The announcement by US President Barack Obama this week to provide federal loans for new nuclear power stations signals a revival of this technology. This may have implications for Australia, too. Read More

  • Politicians no friends to home borrowers

    Stephen Kirchner | 19 Feb 2010

    Many analysts were surprised by the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep interest rates steady at its February Board meeting. In fact, the decision was well-flagged in a speech by RBA Deputy Governor Ric... Read More

  • Indigenous people need less not more discrimination

    Jeremy Sammut | 12 Feb 2010

    The shocking state of child protection services in the Northern Territory has been revealed by a leaked 2007 report by Dr Howard Bath which details numerous cases of Indigenous children failed by the system. ... Read More

  • What if you got pink bats and a school hall for Christmas?

    Stephen Kirchner | 18 Dec 2009

    The rush to push stimulus dollars out the door is similar to the mad rush to buy presents before Christmas, resulting in poor quality spending decisions. The political Santa Claus also has a rather more... Read More

  • Capital Gains Tax Reform as Supply-Side Economics

    Stephen Kirchner | 13 Nov 2009

    The introduction of capital gains tax discounts for individuals and funds as part of the 1999 Ralph business tax reforms has received a lot of bad press, but much of this commentary is ill-informed. Many... Read More

  • Australia’s forgotten savers

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 06 Nov 2009

    Whenever the Reserve Bank lifts interest rates, all newspaper editors seem to ask their reporters for the same story: ‘Find me a young family struggling with higher mortgage repayments.’ And they always... Read More

  • Wrong on House Prices, Ask Him How

    Stephen Kirchner | 06 Nov 2009

    University of Western Sydney academic Steve Keen made a name for himself with forecasts of economic doom, predicting a 40% decline in Australian house prices. Keen put his money where his mouth is, selling... Read More

  • First steps towards 21st century rail

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 30 Oct 2009

    According to a Chinese proverb, every long journey begins with a first step. This holds true even for a train journey. Read More

  • The next financial crisis is around the corner

    Robert Carling | 23 Oct 2009

    Even as the current global financial crisis loosens its grip, the seeds of the next crisis are to be found in the developed world’s government finances. The US federal government has just run up an astonishing... Read More

  • Moore Hypocrisy and Hype

    Meegan Cornforth | 23 Oct 2009

    In his latest celluloid uppercut to the upper crust, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore examines the Home of the Brave to find it has been repossessed and its occupants turfed heartlessly out onto squalid... Read More

  • The easy way to cut tax

    John Humphreys | 09 Oct 2009

    The difficulty with cutting tax is that the government also needs to reduce its spending, and few people are willing to give up their government benefits. But there is a way to cut tax and spending by... Read More

  • Folly of Housing Stimulus without New Houses

    Stephen Kirchner | 04 Sep 2009

    The increase in the First Home Owners Grant is a key element of the federal government’s fiscal stimulus. But the June quarter national accounts show little benefit in terms of new housing supply. Dwelling... Read More

  • War gaming for new government policy

    John Humphreys | 28 Aug 2009

    In troubled times, the government loves to legislate. Whether it is climate change, terrorism or recession, in our modern democracy people demand that the government ‘Do Something,’ and politicians... Read More

  • A Not So Capital Idea

    Stephen Kirchner | 21 Aug 2009

    It only took until 2pm last Saturday afternoon for the Treasurer to pour cold water on a report in The Weekend Australian that the Henry tax review was modelling a capital gains tax (CGT) on family homes... Read More

  • Stimulus advertising only supports MPs’ jobs

    Robert Carling | 24 Jul 2009

    Tripe isn’t most people’s idea of an appealing breakfast, certainly not mine. But readers of recent Sydney’s Sunday papers have had it with their toast and coffee – whether they wanted it or not. Read More

  • Fiscal activists can’t have their cake and eat it

    Stephen Kirchner | 17 Jul 2009

    It was not that long ago that many economic commentators were talking of a direct trade-off between fiscal and monetary policy. Tax cuts and smaller budget surpluses, we were told, would lead to higher... Read More

  • Poor people can’t eat good intentions

    John Humphreys | 17 Jul 2009

    Apparently, politics is simple. Either you are good and care for people, or you don’t. Read More

  • Golden Rule: Dont Mess with the Taxman

    John Humphreys | 12 Jun 2009

    In a bizarre American tax trial, businessman Robert Kahre is being charged with intentionally paying his employees with legal tender. Read More

  • That 70s Show: Whitlam Era Spending is Back

    Stephen Kirchner | 08 May 2009

    So much for fiscal conservatives.  The 2009 budget forecasts the biggest expansion in federal government spending since Gough Whitlam. Read More

  • Tax cuts, mutual obligation and labour force flexibility could make or break jobless

    Jessica Brown | 01 May 2009

    With a nightmare budget looming in view, it’s tempting to take the fatalistic view that all we can do is batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to pass.  This view, however, underestimates the... Read More

  • Happy Tax Freedom Day!

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 17 Apr 2009

    A tax is ‘a compulsory exaction of money by a public authority for public purposes, enforceable by law, and is not a payment for services rendered.’ At least that is the way the High Court defined... Read More

  • Lost in numbers

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 10 Apr 2009

    Imagine a journey of nine trillion four hundred sixty billion seven hundred thirty million four hundred seventy-two thousand five hundred eighty kilometres and eight hundred meters (roughly). Read More

  • China Inc’s March debacle

    John Lee | 03 Apr 2009

    March has been a terrible month for the China Inc brand in Australia and enormously annoying for Beijing. Read More

  • Paid Maternity Leave and the Global Financial Crisis

    Jessica Brown | 27 Mar 2009

    Paid maternity leave was a high profile election promise of the Rudd government, but with an impending recession, the big question now is ‘can we can afford it?’ Read More

  • More Stimulating than a Big Bang

    Geoff Hogbin | 20 Mar 2009

    It’s not rocket science. If you tax employment you can expect to get less of it—especially when unemployment is high. Read More

  • Housing finance hardly an effective indicator of fiscal policy success

    Stephen Kirchner | 20 Mar 2009

    The recent surge in housing finance commitments has been cited as evidence for the effectiveness of the government’s fiscal stimulus measures, in particular, the increase in the grant to first home buyers... Read More

  • Defending civil society and Prescribed Private Funds

    John Humphreys | 20 Feb 2009

    New regulations that will limit the flexibility of charitable funds and decrease the quality and quantity of philanthropy are bad policy at any time, but given the current economic situation, it is specially... Read More

  • Publications

    1. The Case for a New Australian Settlement: Ruminations of an Inveterate Economist

      Wolfgang Kasper | 25 Jun 2015 | Occasional Papers

      To enjoy prosperity into the future, Australia needs to establish an reform strategy that goes beyond economic policy and... Read More...

    2. Submission to the ReThink Tax Discussion Paper

      Robert Carling | 20 May 2015 | Submissions

      Submission to the ReThink Tax Discussion Paper

    3. The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension

      Matthew Taylor, Simon Cowan | 27 Apr 2015 | Research Reports

      The Age Pension is unfair to poorer pensioners, badly targeted, and imposing an unsustainable rising cost on the taxpayer. Pension... Read More...

    4. The Age Old Problem of Old Age: Fixing the Pension

      Matthew Taylor, Simon Cowan | 27 Apr 2015 | TARGET30 Papers

      The Age Pension is unfair to poorer pensioners, badly targeted, and imposing an unsustainable rising cost on the taxpayer. Pension... Read More...

    5. Right or Rort? Dissecting Australia’s Tax Concessions

      Robert Carling | 08 Apr 2015 | Research Reports

      Calls to abolish tax concessions to increase revenue are often misguided. So-called tax concessions for capital gains tax,... Read More...

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    Opinion & Commentary

    1. Reform spending not taxes

      Greg Lindsay | 03 Aug 2015 | Australian Financial Review

      The response to increasing spending on health costs should not be raising the GST, but in reforming expenditure and making ... Read More

    2. Silver linings in recent youth unemployment data

      Patrick Carvalho | 03 Aug 2015 | Business Spectator

      Despite recent easing, youth unemployment remains worryingly high following a flood of jobless youngsters since the start ... Read More

    3. The great immigration menace - another ‘lump of labour’ fallacy tale

      Patrick Carvalho | 28 Jul 2015 | SBS

      Immigrants do not threaten our jobs — on the contrary, they create new possibilities and demand in our economy.... Read More

    4. Don’t hike the GST, reform hospital spending instead

      Jeremy Sammut | 23 Jul 2015 | ABC The Drum

      Under no circumstances should the GST rate be raised to pour larger sums of taxpayer’s money into the fiscal black holes ... Read More

    5. Federal comfort zones must be abandoned

      Robert Carling | 22 Jul 2015 | Canberra Times

      Much has been said about the contest between political expediency and visionary leadership in the recent conduct of public ... Read More

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    1. 3 (wrong) attitudes towards ageing

      Simon Cowan | 31 Jul 2015

      Our population is ageing. This will bring profound economic and fiscal challenges that will require significant changes in ...

    2. Another unhelpful tax thought bubble

      Robert Carling | 31 Jul 2015

      Last weekend's ALP conference resolution committing a future Labor government to 'consider' a version of the so-called Buffett ...

    3. Moratorium on health tax and spend policies

      Jeremy Sammut | 31 Jul 2015

      We urgently need to change the conversation about health. The Intergenerational Reports have warned for more than a decade ...

    4. Reform retreat a tax-fest

      Robert Carling | 24 Jul 2015

      Paul Keating once warned, "Never stand between a state premier and a bucket of money". Rarely has the hazard been more on ...

    5. Brave new 21 st century

      Patrick Carvalho | 24 Jul 2015

      The recent advancements in the information and communications technology - in particular the advent of the internet and smartphones ...

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